Fragrance

A three-part miniseries in which we ask the founders of beloved home fragrance brands to share their favorite aromas and their secrets to creating a home’s signature scent.

Voluspa duo Troy and Traci Arntsen created their first candle in their kitchen—a decade and a half later, countless people now enjoy Voluspa’s coveted fragrances in their own kitchens and homes.

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Nordstrom Beauty Blog: Of all in the world, what are your top three favorite smells?
Traci Arntsen: Snapped Tahitian vanilla bean, ocean salt and wet pavement. And burning firewood, if I get four. :)

What’s the most unexpected combination of scents you’ve loved?
Arntsen: Champagne and oak wood. It smells like a vineyard to me … more than just a glass of bubbly.

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A three-part miniseries in which we ask the founders of beloved home fragrance brands to share their favorite aromas and their secrets to creating a home’s signature scent. First up, the business partners, best friends and fragrance fanatics behind Antica Farmacista: cofounders Shelley Callaghan and Susanne Pruitt.

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Nordstrom Beauty Blog: Of all in the world, what are your top three favorite smells?
Susanne Pruitt: One of my all-time favorite scents is freshly cut grass. I grew up playing golf with my dad, and the smell of the crisp, green grass in the morning is reminiscent of those days. I also love the spicy notes of coriander (found in our coriander, lotus & cucumber scent) and the soothing notes of sandalwood.

Shelley Callaghan: The smell of the cigars my father smoked when I was a child is definitely one of my most cherished scents. Even today, I can smell a burning cigar as I’m walking down the street and be instantly transported to those great memories of my dad. Another favorite is fresh Daphne odora, in bloom throughout Seattle in early spring. Intoxicating! (By the way, we are working to re-create this fragrance.) The scent of sautéed chopped garlic would be another; it’s a staple in my kitchen, and a meal just doesn’t seem complete to me without it!

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A signature fragrance. That beloved scent worn as part of a unique identity. It may change over time as tastes and moods shift, but we’ve all experienced an encounter with a familiar combination of aromas, even after years have passed, and they immediately trigger memories: evoking thoughts of mom, dad, friends, an old flame. Scent, as we all know, is a powerful thing. Which is why, in this new series, we explore the signature fragrances of real women–what they love and why they love it–to navigate this invisible world and discover new fragrances to adore.

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Liz Marley is a wordsmith by day and perfume genius by night. We know her here at Nordstrom HQ as a talented writer, but she also happens to have her own line of perfume she’s worked to develop and launch–PARFUM MAGNÉT. She’s serious about fragrance and clearly a perfect choice to tap for our inaugural signature fragrance story. Read on as she shares what she’s wearing now and a few choice recommendations.

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Liz’s work in her fragrance studio on her Instagram.

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We know what probably comes to your mind when we mention rose-scented perfumes. Old fashioned. Overpowering. Old lady. Until recently we may have felt similarly, but now we think it’s time to rethink roses. Revamped formulations and unexpected scent combinations make for some extraordinary fragrances with rose notes. Read on as our Online Beauty Stylists share their expertise and give us a few of their favorite, modern rose perfumes and fragrances—with a few notable classics thrown in.

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GIF Shop: Beardbrand

OK, maybe you don’t have a beard. But here’s the thing: we’re betting you know someone who does.

Related: Q&A with Beardbrand Founder Eric Bandholz

Shop: Beardbrand | Men’s Grooming

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Ever wonder what goes into designing a scent? Well, block out the next 15 minutes of your life and get ready to hear all about the genesis of La Nuit de Bohème directly from Anna Sui herself, who shared this great behind-the-scenes photo and gave us these notes on inspiration, muse selection, and how it all came together.

“I have to say that I really do enjoy the entire process of creating a fragrance,” the designer told us. “I am very much involved in every single step. Every time I see a new fragrance coming to life, I’m even more inspired.”

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Gifted: Voluspa Candles

What’s that they say about cocktail hour—it’s 5 o’clock somewhere? It must be someone’s birthday too, right? Let our new Gifted posts point you in the direction of stylish presents all year long.

Makassar ebony. Cypress needle. Muscari. If you don’t have a plant-identification book handy, these names might sound like sci-fi fodder. But they’re all naturally occurring elements from good old Mother Earth, and more importantly, they’re ingredients in some of our favorite Voluspa offerings.

These amber-, amethyst- and otherwise dark-hued specimens feel especially right as the leaves and the weather turn and rich, earthy, autumnal notes permeate our world. And boy do they permeate: Voluspa’s clean-burning, coconut-wax blend optimizes the fragrance throw, so the scent all but slithers out of the glass and snakes around the entire room.

With dark, Baroque-esque packaging that looks like it might also have aesthetic roots in Victorian-era decor, this is our best bet for an end-of-October treat.


‘Figue de Bordeaux’ | ‘Citron Vert & Vanille’ | ‘Vacarro Orange & Myrhh’

SHOP ALL: Voluspa

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What’s New: My Burberry Fragrance

My Burberry is the true embodiment of our brand, in scent, in design and in attitude. A fragrance that takes its lead from the iconic Burberry trench has to be outstanding in every way.” —Christopher Bailey, chief creative director & CEO, Burberry

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Capturing the essence of a London garden after the rain, My Burberry is more than just the newest fragrance from a beloved British icon; it’s the brand’s signature scent. For a launch this important, Burberry tapped Kate Moss and Cara Delevigne to star in a campaign shot by none other than Mario Testino.

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We’re excited about the recent launch of Velvet Orchid, the newest fragrance from designer Tom Ford. The Black Orchid perfume Tom Ford released in 2006 has been wildly popular, with fans falling for the intoxicating notes that made it unique.

Now, the brand puts a twist on the original to create a new scent that stands on its own. Both are deeply sensuous, with oriental florals that transport you directly into a balmy, exotic garden, but Velvet Orchid proves a more tender foil to Black Orchid’s femme fatale. Cool citrus, warm honey and spiced rum mix with dramatic petal notes that all combine for a lavish fragrance like none other.

Tom Ford’s Velvet Orchid is online now and hits stores later this month.

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We’re excited about summer fragrances that not only smell great in the heat, but also evoke the perfect sunny retreat. We asked Sarah Zaret and Iris Brostowicz—two of our Beauty Stylists who specialize in fragrance—to spill on the most delectable new and classic scents inspired by summer memories.

Lei It On: Say, “summer vacation” and instantly an island getaway comes to mind. We all agree that nothing smells more like paradise than exotic flowers. Bronze Goddess from Estée Lauder teams classic suntan coconut with Tahitian gardenia. Sarah says it makes her want to turn up Ziggy Marley’s “Beach in Hawaii” for an instant mahalo moment. Eau de Lune by Laura Mercier picks mysterious plumeria to linger above other white florals and musk. The results? The perfect scent for an intimate island evening spent in a moonlit grotto. Iris loves BVLGARI Omnia Coral for a “fresh, fruity scent that somehow doesn’t overpower the senses on a sweltering day.” We bet the delicious combination of sparkling citrus with the allure of hibiscus will keep you cool in the cabana.

Stylist Tip: Summer gives perfume a one-two punch. Scents smell stronger on the skin, but sweat makes staying power take a dive. The solution? For easiest wear, opt for fragrances with excellent sillage but fewer spicy and sweet notes.

Island Longing: The noses at Bond No. 9 blended Shelter Island to recall every detail of a laid-back Long Island summer. Starting with an opulent opening of precious oud, shore-skimming marine notes quickly lure you to grab your weekender and escape the big city. Our experts love that this unisex scent satisfies both women and men looking to break out of their summer fragrance box.

Gold Coast: Feeling even more adventurous? Iris suggests Rive d’Ambre by Tom Ford for its “warm and compelling” notes. “It wraps the wearer in a blend of citrus fruits and amber. Based in essential oils, this perfume elevates daily fragrance,” she says. We couldn’t have made it sound any more daringly delicious.

Scent Staycation: Finally, for those of us who can’t get away, we can always take a journey of the mind with a great summer read. Iris cites The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende as a fave because it “pulls you into its complexities and fully entertains your mind. I would pair it with Oyédo by diptyque. It’s just as complex and fulfilling to the nose as the book is to the reader.”  Yuzu citrus lends its multifaceted Asian charm to this intricate olfactory treat, named after Edo, the former name of Tokyo.

For more summer fragrance suggestions—from fresh to floral to fruityvisit our Summer Scents Shop.

Photo credits: Mona Lee, Liz Marklewicz, Stefanie Frank, Marcie Rouman & Amy Morgan

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